In a small town in the southern desert lands of Nasca Peru there remains one of the world’s greatest archeological mysteries…
Etched in the sand around 400-650AD the ancient Nasca people created a series of drawings, from simple shapes and lines all the way through to elaborate patterns and pictures (known as geoglyphs) such as a monkey, a whale, a humming bird, a tree, a spider, a condor and a spaceman. Some of the geoglyphs are the size of a football pitch and altogether they cover an area of over 50km… In fact these pictures are so big that they can only truly be seen from high above – which is why they were only first discovered (or rediscovered?) in 1927 when a Peruvian archaeologist spotted them whilst hiking in a nearby mountain range.
Quite quickly scientists found out HOW they were created and HOW they survived the test of time, but the mystery still remains to this day as to WHY they were created in the first place!
Theories range from complex astronomy and cosmology maps, routes to underground water systems, through to alien landing markings or spiritual and ceremonial patterns etched for the Nasca gods. Whilst some theories are more plausible than others the truth is that noone really knows why these amazing patterns in the sand were created and what their true meaning or purpose is.
So now thousands of curious tourists (such as us) flock to Nasca each year to take a small (aka sketchy) scenic flight over the lines to marvel at their spelndour and to wonder for themselves, what are they for and why were they created.
We thought that this was just for dusting the crops… turns out it’s our plane! And these 2 Jazzy looking dudes were our Pilots.
After a 3 hour wait in the airport we finally climbed into our tiny plane, put on our headsets and with a small roar the engine cracked into life, coughing and spluttering like a Morris Minor on a cold morning. The pilot revved the engine and with everyone’s fingers crossed and a good wind behind us we were off…. And safely up in the air.
All smiles as we’re about to set off
Hey Carlos, why do these clocks all tell a different time?
Each time we arrived at one of the geoglyphs the copilot would tell us where to look before the plane would bank hard round in a circle so that the wings were almost at right angles with the ground leaving your stomach somewhere far behind, first one way then the other so that both sides of the plane could see them.
The Hands and Tree – From this one you can see a couple of cars at the bottom, you start to get a bit of perspective on just how big they are….
Half an hour later we arrived safely back on the ground, cameras full of pictures, legs wobbling and feeling very sick – but long after the feeling of nausea had left us the image of the lines and the questions behind them stayed with us… What were they for, and why were they created? Perhaps we’ll never know for sure, I kinda hope we don’t find out as the mystery just adds to the beauty!